The Menu has long been meaning to make mention of the wonderful little Garden Café, sited in a Victorian glasshouse perched just above the heart of Blackpool, and a wonderful combination of pop-up supper and photo exhibition has given him ample reason to do so.
The Garden Café ( www.gardencafecork.com ) is a not-for-profit social enterprise initiative of the Churchfield Community Trust.
As well as serving up impeccably sourced and lovely breakfast and lunch fare, it also offers access to a toddler play park, a community garden and miniature pet farm, as part of the Cork Foyer, all making for a very family-friendly dining experience indeed.
The multi-talented chef/photographer Brían French, from nearby Kilcully, presents Give Your Face a Holiday (August 18), a pop-up supper featuring an ambitious and intriguing menu, including a novel take on a Northside favourite, Jerk Bodice, all for a reasonable €35 a head (BYOB).
And not only will Brían be exhibiting his portraits, his subjects — all caught in the act of laughter and up to some fine old guffawing altogether — will be there in person on the night to greet and, in some cases, actually serve the lucky diners.
(Tickets: 087 9793218, www.facebook.com/BFrenchFood )
Beer and roots
The Menu shall be saddling Neidín for a westward jaunt to beautiful Co Clare, for the Doolin Craft Beer & Roots Festival (August 26-28), a celebration of splendid Irish craft beer, including Carlow Brewing, Metalman, Trouble Brewing, Eight Degrees, Dungarvan Brewing Company and one of The Menu’s favourite discoveries of last year, Radikale.
Not only will discerning imbibers be spoilt for choice with an extensive bill of fine pop and roll musical acts, but bellies will be replenished from an array of food and craft beer stalls.
For those seeking a bunk, The Menu can recommend Trident Holiday Homes ( www.tridentholidayhomes.ie), whose nationwide portfolio includes properties in the locality ( www.doolinbeerandroots.com ).
Smells to savour
The final installment of the Flavour.ie summer series of culinary masterclasses, taking place at the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery, sees John Relihan, head chef of Cork’s Holy Smoke, give a five-hour pitmaster masterclass (August 21) covering brines, rubs, charcoal and smoking, grilling and pit roasting ( www.flavour.ie ).
The Food Industry Training Unit, at UCC, in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, Food & The Marine, has announced a series of bursaries over the next four years for students taking the diploma in speciality food production.
Applications are now being taken for the 2016/17 programme (closing date September 1), which will commence on September 27.
(Further details, email firstname.lastname@example.org )
For almost two decades, The Menu and a bunch of hardy comrades have made an annual summer solstice trek to one of the most beautiful places on the planet, Sheep’s Head peninsula in West Cork, to cook, eat, drink, and play music around the campfire till long after the wee hours have given up and gone to bed.
This year, The Menu picked up some fine local produce en route for the feast, including local spuds and an excellent plum jam procured in Eileen’s pub, in Kilcrohane.
Especially treasured were superb eggs produced by the Dippy Ducks of Tigh na Locha, from Farranamanagh, available from an honesty box at the side of the road.
Admittedly, these wonderful eggs, deeply flavoursome, viscous, yellow yolks, the spine of a splendidly healing breakfast after some industrial-strength carousing, will be rather difficult to source beyond Sheep’s Head but serve as an excellent reminder that wonderful local foodstuffs are to be had all over this islandif you can take the time to seek them out — begin your quest for the finest fare at your local farmer’s market.
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